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Campus Rec adds new option for contactless check-in to facilities

A patron scans his hand through a MorphoWave reader to access the Student Recreation Center on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

The UNC Campus Recreation centers are offering a new contactless system for students to access facilities.

The new scanners, called MorphoWave readers, allow students to use their hands to verify their identity instead of having to swipe their One Card. The scanners are currently available at the Student Recreation Center, Rams Head Recreation Center, Fetzer Hall and Woollen Gym.

Campus Recreation Director Bill Goa said the systems are a voluntary alternative and provide students with more flexibility when using the facilities.

“You don’t have to have your ID with you and worry about putting it in a locker,” Goa said. “The feedback we’ve gotten from students that are utilizing them has been very, very positive.”

Senior Emma Ray, who works at Rams Head Recreation Center, said the new scanners are a convenient addition that make checking in faster.

“I’ve used them before to get into SRC and I find it pretty easy because you literally just have to swipe your hand,” Ray said. “I think those who do utilize it like it a lot, like I said it’s super easy.” 

Students can enroll to use the technology by visiting the One Card Office in the Student Stores, a process which Goa said takes 30 seconds.

“What it does is you scan your hand and it creates a digital algorithm of your thumb fingerprints,” Goa said. “It doesn’t take the fingerprints (themselves), but it utilizes the fingerprints to take an algorithm of your hand.”

While the scanners were initially purchased to increase student convenience, Goa acknowledged the benefit of the scanners during the pandemic as well.

“We actually installed (them) during the COVID shutdown thinking that this would be a good contactless way for people to enter,” Goa said.

Ray said the process of the MorphoWave readers' contactless system will hopefully reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.

“You’re not having to pass the card back and forth between hands, there’s no touch involved, so that’s nice," she said.

While others cited the ease of the system, sophomore Amit Garine said he’d prefer to not have to visit the One Card Office for registration.

“I’ve seen people use it but I don’t know if it’s that convenient,” Garine said. “I’d rather just use my One Card.”

Ray said that many students are still unaware of the new scanners and their function.

“I definitely have run into some circumstances where people try to stick their phone in there, stick their One Card in there, put their One Card on top of it, things like that, so there’s definitely a bit of a learning curve,” Ray said. “That’s the only negative I can see with them.”

Goa said use of the MorphoWave scanners would be voluntary for the foreseeable future.

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